Although three live-action remakes of Disney animated classics will arrive this year, Aladdin has attracted the most attention -- which isn't necessarily a good thing. Nothing was known about how Guy Ritchie's adaptation of the beloved 1992 film would look until the release in October of the first teaser. Even then, the footage was about 90 percent sand. Very nice-looking, CGI-enhanced sand, but still just ... sand. The fleeting glimpse of Mena Massoud's Aladdin lifting the Genie's lamp cut off all too quickly, only adding to the aura of mystery, and growing suspicions about its quality.
The second teaser, which debuted Sunday during the 2019 Grammy Awards, features significantly less sand, making room for a proper look at Naomi Scott's Jasmine, her pet tiger Raja, Marwan Kenzari's Jafar and, controversially, Will Smith in full blue Genie mode.
Between the two, we've now seen two and a half minutes of footage from the new movie, more than enough to see how much of a resemblance it bears to the animated original.
The Arabian Desert
The opening shots of the first teaser for the new Aladdin pans across the sweeping Arabian desert in much the same way the original film begins. In the new version, we follow a bird -- most likely Iago, Jafar's talking parrot henchmen -- as it soars over the sand.
The Camel Train
The other main difference in the desert-based opening scenes is the number of riders shown crossing the dunes. A single rider, the Robin Williams-voiced narrator, is shown in the '92 version, while the updated one features a small pack. This could be Jafar, Aladdin and two of Jafar's entourage heading to the Cave of Wonders, where we see them later on, after night falls.
This is the first look at the fictional city of Agrabah in both films. The clearest difference is in the reduced prominence of the royal palace in the skyline of the 2019 adaptation; perhaps a more realistic structure for the city, even if it does minimize the grand impact of the sultan's home.
The Cave of Wonders
The emergence of the Cave of Wonders from nothing into a roaring feline mouth is among the most memorable moments in a film filled with them. It's also important as the first heavy dose of mysticism in Aladdin. Here, the live-action film makes a subtle departure from the original, choosing a lion's head rather than a tiger's, and situating the entrance on a rock face rather than the ground.
Into the Lion's Mouth
Aesthetic differences aside, our titular hero's tentative steps forward into -- quite literally -- the jaws of danger are pretty much the same.
Aladdin & Abu
As Aladdin stares down the cave's head in the 2019 film, we get also get a good look at his monkey BFF. And, Aladdin fans will be pleased to see that the animated Abu has made the jump into photorealism faithfully, complete with the hat and waistcoat that make him his owner's mini-me.
The Fabled Treasure
Once inside the cave in 2019's Aladdin, we get an actual money shot of the fabled treasure trove that lies inside. Of course, the most important treasure is the seemingly ordinary lamp, which sits atop a tall pile of rocks in both versions of the story. The key difference is that the '92 one is surrounded by a pool of water, whereas the 2019 one looks to be surrounded by more treasure.
The Magic Lamp
The moment when Aladdin first touches the lamp is more or less mirrored in both versions, with the exception of director Guy Ritchie opting for a downward angle in his live-action update instead. He's also opted for a more covered-up Aladdin, an unpopular decision for some of the thirstier fans of the Disney prince.
A Fiery Escape
From what we've seen so far, Aladdin's escape attempt from the collapsing cave looks as if it will be just as fiery in the new film as it was in the original. Hopefully, we can expect to also see Massoud's Aladdin make a similarly daring journey through the fire and brimstone aboard his flying carpet.
Prince Ali's Parade
While we haven't gotten to see Aladdin's fake, royal alter ego, Prince Ali, in anything released from the 2019 film, we have been given a glimpse of the over-the-top parade that Genie whips up for him, complete with an elephant (presumably a transformed Abu) dancing girls and guards. The scene is a welcome splash of color following the dimmer cave-based ones in the trailers.
Princess Jasmine & Raja
This is the only footage released so far of Naomi Scott as Jasmine, with a bonus CG Raja in tow. As we already saw on the Entertainment Weekly cover, the bright pink outfit is a dramatic change from the blue, two-piece look she wears in the '92 film. But we could see her change into that iconic look later in the remake. (What kind of princess wouldn't have more than one outfit, after all?)
Magic Carpet Ride
As Aladdin unleashes the Genie for the first time in the 2019 film, the flying carpet is right by his side, looking virtually identical to its animated counterpart. What's especially good to see is that it appears to have the same anthropomorphic quality that endeared audiences to it in 1992.
Oh, Yeah, And Genie
Well, here it is. The one thing that Aladdin fans have been clamoring for: Will Smith's blue Genie. And, after all these months of waiting to see it, it looks like ... Will Smith. But blue. And big. He's got the gold shackles, the pointy ears, the goatee and the ponytail. Sure, it's accurate. But, as the Internet has already decided, accuracy can be pretty unsettling in cases like these.
Directed by Guy Ritchie, Disney's Aladdin stars Mena Massoud in the title role, with Naomi Scott as Princess Jasmine, Will Smith as the Genie, Marwan Kenzari as Jafar, Navid Negahban as The Sultan, Nasim Pedrad as Dalia, Billy Magnussen as Prince Anders and Numan Acar as Hakim. The film arrives on May 24.